A tad early for this

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It might be too early for this.

This story made some news early in the week on Jets and NFL sites.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Will Fuller are “at the top” of players the Jets are interested in.

I like Fowler’s work. He’s an old-school reporter who pounds the pavement to break news.

But I just don’t know how this can be determined at this point. Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh are holed up at One Jets Drive going over the film of last year, and breaking down the current players on the roster.

We are over a month away from the start of free agency, which begins on March 17.

And also, both of these players come with risks.

The Jets under Douglas and Saleh are looking to build a strong football culture, and you must put Smith-Schuster under an intense microscope before signing him.

This is a player who is very concerned with his TikTok account. This is social media site that is very popular with teenagers.

Smith-Schuster was criticized last season for some videos that he posted that had him dancing on the center-field logos of opponents. Opponents, like the Buffalo Bills, voiced displeasure with this, and it become a distraction for the Steelers.

“We understand it’s 2020, 2021, social media is a factor out there that our players pay attention to, and that’s not going to change,” said Steelers owner Art Rooney II. “Obviously, there are a few things that probably JuJu could handle better.”

Not saying Smith-Schuster is a bad guy, but do the Jets need this kind of stuff, this kind of mindset, as the forge ahead with their cultural rebuild? TikTok isn’t going to help you win any games.

As for Fuller, he is coming off a six-game PED suspension at the end of last season.

Aside from that, he’s had a really hard time staying healthy over the course of his five-year NFL career. Like a lot of speedsters, he has had issues with pulled muscles, but also, he’s very skinny, so that has led to some durability issues.

However, when healthy, there is no doubt Fuller could help the Jets as one of the fastest players in the NFL, a player who consistently takes the top off defenses.

But the Jets need to be careful spending big bucks on a player who has a history of getting hurt, and that also probably applies to safety Marcus Maye. Yes, Maye stayed healthy this year, but not before this year. I’m not saying that Jets shouldn’t re-sign Maye. They should, but they need to careful with the contract based on his injury history, just like they would with Fuller, if they go after him.

The other thing about the Fowler story you need to be careful with is, it’s clearly based on the premise that the Jets need to go out and get “weapons” for Sam Darnold, who some will tell you has been victimized by not having enough. As I pointed out yesterday, this is a flawed premise. His biggest issues isn’t related to weapons, but field vision and telegraphing passes to his first read. A multitude of weapons aren’t going to make you take your eyes off your first read, if that is what you’re inclined to do.

And are Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder bad weapons?

February 11, 2021

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeldhttps://www.jetsconfidential.com
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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